TORONTO — The Toronto Film Festival turned its second day into a very welcome new holiday, "Bill Murray Day," an honor the comedian received, naturally, with bemusement.
"I get to park wherever I want," said Murray, appearing for a Q&A following a screening of "Ghostbusters."
Friday was officially dubbed "Bill Murray Day" by the festival, which screened a marathon of Murray classics ("Stripes" and "Groundhog Day," along with "Ghostbusters") ahead of the premiere of Murray's latest, the upcoming next-door neighbor comedy "St. Vincent."
Fans turned out outfitted in costumes of beloved Murray characters, from his ocean explorer Steve Zissou to his Army cadet from "Stripes." They were all topped by a baby dressed as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from "Ghostbusters." Said Murray: "That is one good-looking baby."
Many had wondered about the extent of Murray's participation in his own day. But he, clad in red pants and a blue plaid shirt, appeared with Ivan Reitman (who directed him in "Ghostbusters" and "Stripes") and writer-producer Mitch Glazer (screenwriter of "Scrooged") following "Ghostbusters."
"I sort of stayed in my room for a long time," explained Murray. "People kept coming up and saying things like, 'It's real humid out there. And it's going to get more humid.' That's what my day's been like. It's mostly been a weather report."
Though he came out singing along to Prince's "Raspberry Beret," Murray did share some sincere reflection.
"The only reason I've had the career life I've had is someone told me some secrets early on about living," he said. "The more relaxed you are the better you are."
The day culminated with the premiere of "St. Vincent," which the Weinstein Co. will release Oct. 24. In it, Murray plays the next-door curmudgeon — a drunk and a gambler — to a single mom (Melissa McCarthy) and her young son (Jaeden Lieberher) in Brooklyn. As one of Murray's most ambitious performances in years, one that vacillates between comedy and drama, Murray is expected to be pushed for an Oscar nomination.
Appearing on stage before the premiere, Murray — the belle of the ball — wore a crown and red sash. Following the film, the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
Though Bill Murray Day was planned to last 24 hours, many were hoping it would — like "Groundhog Day" — reset Saturday. Fans are warned to be on the lookout for Ned Ryerson.
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